Former Springbok hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle has highlighted shortcomings in the South African rugby system that he believes have let black players down.
On Wednesday, Ralepelle was handed an eight-year ban by an independent doping tribunal panel after he tested positive for a banned anabolic substance – Zeranol – during an out-of-competition test last year.
In a report by journalist Brenden Nel in Rapport newspaper, Ralepelle believes there’s more pressure on black players than white players to perform.
‘It starts with the player moving from the countryside and then going to a big school. It requires adjustment. Then they are selected for even bigger teams and the pressure increases.
‘If you don’t prepare the player for the pressure and don’t take into account his background, it could have the impact of an atomic bomb on him.’
Ralepelle told Nel that South African rugby could learn from American sports.
‘In America, you first have to go to university and get your degree. You are not contracted out of school. Doing so puts too much pressure on the child.
‘The [South African rugby] system has failed black players. Transformation failed the test. If we want to change that, the system needs to change.
‘Players need to be prepared for life after rugby. Yes, the responsibility is also the players, but they are people too and are overwhelmed with what’s ahead of them.’
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